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Is The FDA Really Qualified Qualified To Regulate The Tobacco Industry?


I saw recently that a U.S. Senator had sponsored a bill to have the FDA regulate the Tobacco companies.  According to an article in June 12, 2009 Washington Post newspaper, the bill was sponsored by Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

It seems the FDA has had poor success in regulating other substances recently.  For example, there was the peanut butter scare which, according to Huliq News, began on January 13, 2009 when the Peanut Corp. of America recalled 21 lots of peanut butter from their plant in Blakely, Georgia.  That recall was expanded by Peanut Corporation of America to include all peanut butter manufactured at the Blakely, Georgia plant since July 1, 2008, according to Huliq News.  That recall affected brand name food manufacturers, such as Kellogg’s and Little Debbie, who used the tainted peanut butter to make their products, according to the Huliq News article.  People are so worried that they are constantly checking ingredients lists of processed foods made with peanut butter.  And all of this public scrutiny is taking place because the FDA did not catch a company in Georgia that continued selling tainted peanut butter to a host of food manufacturers.

Because of a continuous flow of news about the FDA’s inability to keep check on food and drug manufacturers, people are seriously concerned about safe food and drug consumption.  For example, consumers are wary about which dietary supplement sold over the counter may cause permanent liver damage, or which cold medicine may cause them to lose their sense of smell.

The issue of funding is yet another important matter.  Industry funds the FDA in a range that falls between 60 % to 70 %.  Therefore, a pharmaceutical company or food manufacturing company , are both possible funding source for the Food and Drug Administration.  The FDA treats those companies more like customers than as companies that the FDA is supposed to be regulating.  Our government created the FDA to help keep the people of our country safe from contaminated food and bad drugs.  Now, it seems more of a case of the fox guarding the hen house.

After watching a CBS 60 MINUTES special on how the FDA’s regulatory process works, I am not sure if corporate America runs the FDA, or if the FDA regulates corporate America.  Now, Sen. Kennedy wants us to trust the FDA to regulate the tobacco companies.  It all just doesn’t seem logical.

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